It feels weird to ask how are you doing, even in the Dutch news I’ve seen how awfully the Chilean government is managing the pandemic. Here in the Netherlands it seems that we’re going back to normal, last week I went to the cinema and watched Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing and of course I cried so much, because of the film and because I was so moved feeling that I was being part of a collective effort to get out of this situation. I’m also back to seeing friends and I’m happy with the possibility of living in a world with the least amount of video calls possible, I truly cannot take another one of those (except if it’s with you <3 ). Some people here are even planning the return to work and I liked this approach of a design studio of the city of Veghel, they propose that “socially distanced offices” shouldn’t rely on the massive consumption of protective plastic, but they rather adopt environment-friendly materials and practices.
What really scares me is this perspective of a so called “screen new deal” that Naomi Klein anticipates, in this vision, digital corporations will be the main beneficiaries of a post Covid-19 world in which most social interactions will take place through screens. Klein explains that if this scenario is installed, it would be enforced through shock doctrine logics, moreover, it seems that people like Eric Schmidt and other powerful Silicon Valley men are already enthusiastic with this future. Clearly the behavior of digital giants in this pandemic is not really a hopeful reference if we speculate about their possible reactions to the upcoming catastrophic effects of the climate emergency such as the forced displacement of people and flooded cities. In regards to that relation between tech companies and climate, Greenpeace published a report that details how Amazon, Microsoft and Google are making extremely profitable business with oil and gas corporations, what is good is that the release of this information caused that Google committed to not develop AI technology specifically dedicated to the efficient extraction of oil. Wow, they’re such heroes, let’s build a statue for them.
I think we have to contribute to a narrative in which we position these companies as the worst of the worst, like tobacco companies, like carbon companies who seek state compensations for the closure of their plants, like Monsanto. Tech corporations are little by little showing their true faces and if we just sit and wait for the world to acknowledge that their business was never about cool devices and good intentions, it soon will be too late. In parallel, I think that it is good to promote digital services’ organizations that already have strong policies about their environmental impact, this is the case of the providers on this list. It is also important the use of resources like this lexicon of climate intervention created at the Strelka Institute in which they detail, with numerical evidence, the environmental benefits of practices such as the 3-day working week, the universal right to contraceptive methods, the promotion of vegetarianism and the restitution of stolen land to indigenous people.
And in our daily dystopic readings, I found this very interesting article that indicates that while the human body has the capacity to automatically adjust its temperature according to the environment, a skill that in part explains the survival of our species, it would be a characteristic soon to be rendered useless because of the climate emergency since the sustained high temperatures are taking our bodies beyond their thermoregulatory capacity. This really sucks but I think it’s helpful to understand the human body as a very delicate machine that is subject to too many external influences, and just as a machine, it needs proper maintenance in order to work. This is why I find extremely important the feminist emphasis on self-care and the understanding of self-care as a collective occupation rather than a vanity issue. In regards to that, I would like to recommend some of the work of my friend Annika Kappner, she’s a visual artist from Berlin and she lives here in the Netherlands, she created a series of guided meditations in which our body is addressed from a cyber-machinic perspective but also from a planetary dimension that connects with the Earth. I listened to the tracks and it felt fantastic, she also managed to design beautiful sound landscapes <3
Paz, amiga, have this picture of these cute sloths. Did you know that they hate people taking selfies with them? Being environmentally conscious also means to leave animals alone and away from our digital nonsense 🙂
Oh, those guided meditations are great!
I wanted to write to you so many days ago, there is so much I want to tell you about, but exploitation finds new ways in confinement. I haven’t been able to sit down to write a simple love letter dedicated to you! By the way, Paul B. Preciado says that the home has always been vital in the plague management as a space to confine the body; however, with COVID-19, it has also become the core of tele-consumption and tele-production. Identified, serialized and electronically monitored, the home, that space that for many (although not for all) could be the place of repairment, resistance, and anti-capitalist conspiracy, is today an eternal Zoom meeting, or a work message very late at night on your messaging app to control your productivity.
In fact, one of the first measures of the Chilean neoliberal government in pandemic was to enact a teleworking law that has been criticized for eroding the already languishing local labor rights, with particular detriment to women. Isn’t that we already live the materiality of the Screen New Deal that Klein talks about? For the rest, and as we have previously discussed in gatito earth, how beautiful is smart automation, especially when we “forget” those “tens of millions of anonymous workers tucked away in warehouses, data centres, content-moderation mills, electronic sweatshops, lithium mines, industrial farms, meat-processing plants and prisons, where they are left unprotected from disease and hyper-exploitation,” as Klein says.
Now that I think about it, Paul B. Preciado says one obvious thing that I hadn’t taken seriously until today, reading Klein. It is impressive to see States literally running to implement measures of democratic exception, eroding labor rights, and proposing extreme digital surveillance, but not even consider attacking the cause of the pandemic (and those that come). In Preciado’s words: “prohibiting the traffic and consumption of wild animals or the industrial production of birds and mammals—which is at the origin of viral zoonosis production, including SARS-COV-2—nor the reduction of CO2 emissions. What has grown is not the immunity of the social body but the tolerance of citizens under the cybernetic control of the state and corporations”. :O
As María Galindo brilliantly writes in the context of COVID-19, those of us who inhabit the “ass of the world” (aka Latinamerica) know very well that we will never find a successful response to the challenges of the post-pandemic world, especially when our governments from the right and left wings are a crystallization of the corrupt family/oligarchy/state tradition. A sad sample: the progressive and right-wing economists in Chile want to reactivate the economy by making laxer environmental impact assessments. As if we lived in the 50s. It wasn’t that the ecological assessment mattered much earlier, as it is evident with the Data Center that Google will install in Cerrillos.
So, amiga, to finally answer your question of how I am, I prefer to use the Galindo’s beautiful words: “It is not that a crisis has come to us, but that we live in crisis, it is not that we expect answers but that we continually invent them in an artisan and intuitive way, appealing to the tools of our own context, and that is what is seen in all corners from our region. Home remedies, inventions of new ways of earning a living, and launching oneself to death at the same time. The days have turned into colorful festivals at the end of the world”.
Hugs, d. Here a pic of my pandemic panorama: cats and puzzles.